Simulation may be stimulation Chan needs

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:00 AM ET

KITCHENER -- Canadian figure skater Patrick Chan will be given every opportunity to turn around his season prior to the Olympics in February.

Skate Canada's high performance director, Michael Slipchuk, said yesterday the organization will do everything it can to help Chan pull out of his funk, including staging a simulated competition prior to the Vancouver Games.

Chan, the defending world championship silver-medallist, suffered a severe bout of the flu earlier this season and then a muscle tear in his left quad, which put his training back about a month and forced him to pull out of the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow.

His first Grand Prix of the season was this weekend's Skate Canada International, and the 18-year-old finished a disappointing sixth after falling three times in the free skate on Saturday night.

"We would run it like a competition," Slipchuk said. "We would do a structured six-minute warmup and then an on-the-spot performance.

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"Does it mimic competition? Absolutely not. Competition is the only thing you can do to prepare for competition. But this just gets you into that competitive mindset."

Slipchuk believes that Chan's problems will actually take some pressure off leading up to the Olympics, as the expectations may not be as high. He also believes that with such a strong skating team for Canada at the Games, the spotlight will shift somewhat to the other skaters, including yesterday's ice dance winners, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and women's champion Joannie Rochette of Montreal.

Canadian skaters won four medals at Skate Canada, even with Chan out of the mix.

"There's a lot of other skaters on our team that will absorb a lot of the pressure and it kind of puts Patrick more normally in the mix so he can just go back to work and prepare himself," said Slipchuk. "We have strong candidates in all four disciplines and that was really clear here."


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